Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 2:25 pm, Thu Dec 20, 2012.
What happened to their 3-month-old son?
Stacey Hinkle confronted her husband, Kyle, with that question in October after their son was admitted to the hospital following an apparent seizure. The doctors needed to know so they could properly treat him, she told him.
In a Bensalem courtroom Wednesday, Stacey Hinkle testified that her husband, his eyes red and puffy from crying, confessed.
Their son would not stop crying, he allegedly told her. He got frustrated and shook the baby up and down for two or three seconds, she said, demonstrating the move with her hands.
Stacey Hinkle was one of two witnesses who testified Wednesday at the preliminary hearing for Kyle Hinkle, 25, of Virginia Avenue, who is accused of violently shaking his son, resulting in a brain injury.
Following the brief hearing, Bensalem District Judge Leonard Brown held Hinkle for trial on charges of aggravated and simple assault and endangering the welfare of a child, rejecting his public defender’s argument that a few seconds of shaking could not inflict such serious injuries. He is free after posting 10 percent of his $50,000 bail.
Stacey Hinkle testified that she was taking her nephew to a job interview around 10 a.m. on Oct. 12 and left their son in the care of his father. But soon after she had left, he called and text messaged her, saying the baby’s cries sounded “weird’ and that the baby wouldn’t stop crying.
Get home as soon as you can, she testified he told her.
Under cross examination, she said her husband sounded “annoyed.”
Stacey Hinkle testified she headed right home after getting the message. When she arrived, she picked up her son and his eyes rolled back into his head and his body went limp, she told the court.
She immediately took the baby to Aria Health’s Torresdale campus. He was transferred to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, where he was admitted for five days.
Stacey Hinkle also testified that the baby had a similar episode a few days earlier — on Oct. 8 — when he was left in Kyle’s care.
She had taken her nephew to work when Kyle called and told her to come home quick, that something was wrong with the baby. When Stacey returned home, her mom told her the baby had a seizure.
She testified that Kyle told her that maybe the baby had a seizure because he had a hard time making a bowel movement. They decided not to take him to the doctor because he appeared fine, she added.
Under cross-examination by public defender Ken Hone, Hinkle admitted that her husband was upset at St. Christopher’s when he told his wife what happened.
“Was (Kyle) expressing remorse and wishing it never, ever happened,” Hone asked.
Yes, she replied.
“And he said it numerous times?” Hone added.
Bensalem police launched an investigation into the Oct. 12 incident after Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services notified them that Aria Health had treated a baby boy with injuries consistent with shaken-baby syndrome.
The infant had “new and old” subdural hematomas and retinal hemorrhages — injuries that were “highly suspect” for inflicted abuse, according to an affidavit of probable cause. Subdural hematomas occur when a blood vessel near the surface of the brain bursts.
On the witness stand, Dr. Maria McColgan, who examined and treated the baby, testified that extensive testing showed the infant suffered a potentially life threatening brain bleed and had many retinal hemorrhages. McColgan is director of the child protective program at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.
She added that the baby’s condition has improved, though he had apparent developmental delays, although it’s unclear if the delays are related to the brain injury he suffered.
There is no evidence of any bleeding or metabolic disorders or other medical conditions that can cause subdural and retinal bleeding in the baby, McColgan testified. A seizure alone would not cause the bleeding, and the baby also had no history of accidental trauma, she said.
McColgan added that this type of brain injury the baby suffered requires a significant amount of force, such as a crushing injury or car accident.
“My diagnosis is this is inflicted trauma,” she said.
Jo Ciavaglia: 215-949-4181; email: jciavaglia@phillyBurbs.com; Twitter: @jociavaglia; To subscribe, go to phillyburbs.com/orderBCCT